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From Middle High German karpfe, from Old High German karpho. The Central German form Karpe(n) was widespread in earlier modern German (well into the 19th century and well into Upper German territory). This may be a reason why the form has not been simplified to *Karfen, it being the only word in modern standard German in which -rpf- has not been simplified to -rf-. Further origin unsettled; compare English carp for more.


  • IPA(key): /ˈkarpfən/, [kaʁ.pfən], [kaɐ̯-], [kaː-], [-pfɱ̍], [-pɸm̩]
  • (file)


Karpfen m (strong, genitive Karpfens, plural Karpfen, diminutive Kärpfchen n or Kärpflein n)

  1. carp

Usage notes[edit]

  • The diminutive forms are attestable, but very rare.


Further reading[edit]

  • Karpfen” in Duden online
  • Karpfen” in Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache